Campsites and beaches to reopen at Ontario Parks

Jun 10 2020, 7:32 pm

Campsites and beaches are set to reopen at Ontario Parks beginning June 12, as part of the province’s Stage 2 economic plan.

According to the province, more facilities and services will be available at provincial parks in certain regions beginning on Friday.

Gradually over the next several weeks, Ontario Parks will start opening campgrounds, providing more washrooms and drinking water, along with roofed accommodations, park store and rental operations, visitor centres, and sports fields.

However, it’s important to check what facilities and services are available before visiting a provincial park.

“Due to the tremendous progress we have made to contain the spread of COVID-19, more services and activities will soon be available at our provincial parks,” Jeff Yurek, Minister of the Environment, Conservation, and Parks said in a statement.

“While this is encouraging, it is not business as usual. I encourage everyone to be responsible and continue to follow public health advice, including physical distancing, when enjoying our outdoor amenities.”

The following is a list of recreational activities and facilities that will be opening soon at provincial parks in regions entering Stage 2:

  • On June 12, beaches at Ontario Parks will begin opening to the public as maintenance and water testing are completed.
  • On June 15, campers enrolled in this year’s Ontario Parks’ Seasonal Campsite Program will now have access to their campsites at the majority of participating provincial parks. Those who were preselected in 2019 for the program will be contacted by Ontario Parks directly regarding the status of their reservation.
  • Beginning the week of June 22, all other campgrounds in regions entering Stage 2 will gradually open at provincial parks, along with washrooms, water taps and trailer sanitation stations.
  • Roofed accommodations (e.g., yurts, cabins and lodges, where available), park store and rental operations, visitor centers, and sports fields will be phased in over the next several weeks.

But, facilities such as showers, laundry, group camping, picnic shelter rentals and swimming pools will remain closed for the rest of the 2020 season.

Visitors should check to see what facilities and services are available before visiting a provincial park.

To help protect visitors and staff, Ontario Parks will also be implementing measures to address overcrowding and promote physical distancing in park spaces and buildings during busy visitation times, by limiting occupancy for day-use and camping in select provincial parks.

This may include limiting the number of daily vehicle permits sold or the number of campsites available for reservations

Additionally, ministry officers will be present in provincial parks to provide information, assist with emergencies and enforce provincial park rules and regulations.

These areas may be patrolled by local police or other enforcement agencies, the province says.

Ontario Parks operates almost 19,000 campground campsites throughout the province.

On Monday, the province announced that Ontario would be entering Stage 2 on June 12.

There are regions that must move into the next stage at a later date, including Toronto Durham, Hamilton, Niagara, Peel, York, Haldimand-Norfolk, Halton, Lambton, and Windsor-Essex.

However, for every region in the province gatherings expanded from five to 10 people with physical distancing still in place.

For regions that can reopen, patios will be available, places of worship can now have 30% capacity, and hair salons and malls can be visited.

It’s important to note that physical distancing is strongly enforced and businesses must comply with safety measures to ensure staff and customers are protected.

Clarrie FeinsteinClarrie Feinstein

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